Skip to content

Implementing the Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP)

What is the WVPP?

As a business owner, it's essential to ensure the safety and well-being of your employees. California Senate Bill 553 (SB 553) requires all non-healthcare businesses to implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) by July 1, 2024.

Here, we provide a comprehensive guide to help you understand and implement the WVPP effectively.

The Workplace Violence Prevention Plan is designed to help businesses identify, assess, and reduce risks related to workplace violence. This plan includes specific actions and policies to ensure a safe working environment. Here is an example of how a business would utilize the WVPP.


Key Components of the WVPP


1. Risk Assessment and Identification

    • Evaluate Hazards: Regularly assess your workplace to identify potential risks of violence, including the physical layout and work processes.
    • Incident Logs: Maintain a log of all violent incidents to identify patterns and areas of concern.

2. Preventive Measures

      • Engineering Controls: Implement physical measures such as secure entrances, surveillance, and alarm systems.
      • Administrative Controls: Develop and enforce policies like zero-tolerance for violence, reporting procedures, and emergency response plans.
      • Work Practice Controls: Establish procedures that reduce the risk of violence, such as safe cash handling or using a buddy system for vulnerable tasks.

3. Employee Involvement

    • Engagement: Involve employees in developing and implementing the WVPP through regular meetings and feedback sessions.
    • Training: Provide comprehensive training on recognizing, avoiding, and responding to workplace violence. Ensure training is ongoing and updated as necessary.

4. Communication

    • Clear Channels: Establish clear communication channels for reporting violence, threats, or concerns, such as hotlines or direct reporting to supervisors.
    • Regular Updates: Keep employees informed about updates to the WVPP, investigation results, and changes in safety protocols.

5. Response Procedures

    • Emergency Plans: Develop and rehearse emergency response plans for different scenarios, such as an active shooter or a violent confrontation.
    • Coordination with Authorities: Ensure procedures are in place for quickly involving law enforcement or other emergency responders.


Implementing the WVPP


1. Assign Responsibility

    • Designate a WVPP Administrator responsible for the overall implementation and maintenance of the plan.
    • Clearly define roles and responsibilities for all managers and supervisors.

2. Documentation and Review

    • Document all aspects of the WVPP, including risk assessments, training records, and incident logs.
    • Regularly review and update the plan to address new risks or changes in the workplace environment.

3. Compliance and Enforcement

    • Ensure compliance with all legal requirements under California Labor Code sections 6401.7 and 6401.9.
    • Implement disciplinary measures for non-compliance with the WVPP.

Employer Actions When an Employee Is Injured Due to Workplace Violence

  1. Medical Treatment:
    • Ensure timely and appropriate medical care through the employer’s workers' compensation insurance.
  2. Notification:
    • Inform employees of their workers' compensation eligibility within one working day of the incident.
  3. Documentation:
    • Record the incident in the employer’s violent incident log.
  4. Investigation:
    • Investigate the incident, evaluate workplace violence hazards, and implement necessary changes.
  5. Plan Review:
    • Assess the effectiveness of the workplace violence prevention plan and revise if needed.
  6. Reporting:

Examples of Workplace Incidents and the WVPP Response


1. Verbal Threats from a Customer

Scenario: An angry customer makes verbal threats to an employee.

WVPP Response: The employee reports the incident through established channels. The manager documents the threat and ensures the employee’s safety by asking the customer to leave and informing security or law enforcement if necessary.


2. Physical Altercation Between Employees

Scenario: Two employees get into a physical fight.

WVPP Response: Nearby employees follow the emergency response plan, separating the individuals and contacting security. Both employees receive support and counseling. An investigation determines the cause and helps prevent future incidents.


3. Harassment from a Co-worker

Scenario: An employee reports ongoing harassment from a co-worker.

WVPP Response: The report is logged, and the WVPP Administrator conducts a confidential investigation. Actions such as mediation or disciplinary measures are taken based on the findings, and preventive measures like harassment training sessions are reinforced.

In Action: How a Business Owner Utilized the Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

This story is purely an example and not based on true events.

joe smith- vacaville grocery

Joe Smith, the owner of Vacaville Grocery, prided himself on running a family-friendly neighborhood store. With a dedicated team of employees and a loyal customer base, Joe believed that ensuring a safe and secure environment was paramount. Aware of the increasing incidents of workplace violence in the retail industry, Joe decided to implement a comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) for his store.

Step 1: Assessment of the Workplace

Joe started by assessing the potential hazards within Vacaville Grocery. He reviewed the store layout, noting areas that were more secluded and could be potential risk zones. He also evaluated past incidents, such as minor disputes between customers and employees, to understand potential triggers. Additionally, Joe distributed surveys to his staff, asking for their input on any situations that made them feel unsafe.

Step 2: Developing Policies and Procedures

With the assessment complete, Joe collaborated with a safety consultant to develop clear policies and procedures. They defined what constituted workplace violence, ranging from verbal threats to physical assaults. Joe emphasized a zero-tolerance policy for any form of violence or harassment. Procedures for reporting incidents were established, ensuring that employees knew how to act if they witnessed or experienced violence.

Step 3: Training and Education

Joe organized mandatory training sessions for all his employees. These sessions covered recognizing signs of potential violence, de-escalation techniques, and how to safely report incidents. Employees were also educated about the support available to them, including counseling services. Joe made sure to conduct annual refresher courses to keep everyone updated.

Step 4: Incident Response Plan

An incident response plan was developed, detailing steps to be taken in case of a violent incident. This plan included immediate actions like evacuating the area, contacting law enforcement, and providing necessary medical assistance. Joe assigned roles to his management team, ensuring everyone knew their responsibilities during an emergency.

Step 5: Support Systems

Understanding the importance of support, Joe set up a system to provide counseling services to employees affected by workplace violence. He also established a follow-up process to check on the well-being of these employees and ensure they felt safe returning to work.

Step 6: Regular Review and Update

Joe committed to regularly reviewing and updating the WVPP. He held quarterly meetings with his management team to discuss any new risks and the effectiveness of the current plan. He also welcomed feedback from employees, encouraging them to share any concerns or suggestions for improvement.

The Incident

One busy Saturday afternoon, an agitated customer began shouting at the cashier, Sarah, over a pricing issue. The situation quickly escalated, and the customer made threatening gestures. Following their training, Sarah and her colleague, Mark, calmly de-escalated the situation by listening to the customer and offering a solution. However, when the customer continued to behave aggressively, Mark discreetly alerted Joe.

Joe promptly intervened, following the incident response plan. He asked the customer to leave the store and contacted local law enforcement. The customer was escorted out without further incident. Joe ensured that Sarah and Mark received immediate support and offered them time off to recover from the stressful situation.

Aftermath and Review

Following the incident, Joe documented the event in the violent incident log and completed the necessary reports. He reviewed the incident with his team, evaluating what had happened and how they could improve their response. Joe made minor adjustments to the store layout to increase visibility and reduce secluded areas. He also scheduled additional training sessions focused on handling difficult customers.

Joe's proactive approach and thorough implementation of the WVPP not only protected his employees but also reinforced a culture of safety and support at Vacaville Grocery. Employees felt more secure knowing that their well-being was a priority, and customers appreciated the calm and safe environment of the store. Joe's commitment to safety turned Vacaville Grocery into a safe haven for both his staff and the community.

Next Steps

We encourage you to develop your WVPP to ensure compliance by the July 1, 2024 deadline. A sample plan is linked on this page. By implementing a robust WVPP, you comply with legal requirements and create a safer, more supportive work environment for your employees.

Scroll To Top